Adrian Gonzalez returned to Petco Park on Tuesday for the first time since getting traded by the San Diego Padres in December 2010. The first baseman was all business, focusing on the Los Angeles Dodgers and their fainting playoff hopes, but admitted he was excited to return to his hometown.
“I was able to sleep in my bed, going to the restaurants I crave the whole time when I’m not home. But at the end of the day it’s about winning three games here,” Gonzalez said. “You still go out there and produce, do what you have to do. But I was born here, I grew up here, so there are definitely a lot more connections.”
Gonzalez was a high school star at Eastlake High School in the San Diego suburb of Chula Vista, Calif., and was drafted first overall in the 2000 MLB draft by the Marlins. Six years later he was traded to the Padres, where he averaged .288, 32 home runs, and 100 runs batted in per season from 2005 to 2010.
Padres fans at Petco Park greeted Gonzalez with a mixture of boos and cheers during his at-bats on Tuesday night, the ill will fairly standard for a popular opposing player. Gonzalez was traded by the Padres with a year remaining on his contract because they feared he wouldn’t re-sign. But Gonzalez noted that the scenario of him remaining a Padre was purely hypothetical.
“They never offered me a contract,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez went 2-for-4 on Tuesday and is hitting .500 (15-for-30) in his career against his former team.
Now a Dodger, Gonzalez is signed for six more years, through 2017, for $127 million. His initial time with the Dodgers hasn’t been too productive. The first baseman has hit just .263 with three home runs in 28 games.